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07 September, 2019

4 Min Read

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Paper Topics Subject
GS-I Indus Valley settlers had a distinct genetic lineage.
GS-II Sea route from Chennai to Vladivostok International Relations
GS-III Prepare plan for protection of Great Indian bustard
GS-IV It’s time officers renewed their commitment to the nation, not the government of the day Miscellaneous
GS-I :
Indus Valley settlers had a distinct genetic lineage.

GS-I: Indus Valley settlers had a distinct genetic lineage

News

Throwing fresh light on the Indus Valley Civilisation, a study of DNA from Skeletal remains excavated from the Harappan cemetery at Rakhigarhi.

Background

The history of India begins with the birth of the Indus Valley Civilization (IVC), also known as Harappan Civilization.

It flourished around 2,500 BC, in the western part of South Asia, in contemporary Pakistan and Western India.

The Indus Valley was home to the largest of the four ancient urban civilizations of Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China.

In 1920s, the Archaeological Department of India carried out excavations in the Indus valley wherein the ruins of the two old cities, viz. Mohenjodaro and Harappa were unearthed.

In 1924, John Marshall, Director-General of the ASI, announced the discovery of a new civilisation in the Indus valley to the world.

Town Planning and Structures

The Harappan culture was distinguished by its system of town planning.

Harappa and Mohenjodaro each had its own citadel or acropolis, which was possibly occupied by members of the ruling class.

Below the citadel in each city lay a lower town containing brick houses, which were inhabited by the common people.

The remarkable thing about the arrangement of the houses in the cities is that they followed the grid system.

Granaries constituted an important part of the Harappan cities.

The use of burnt bricks in the Harappan cities is remarkable, because in the contemporary buildings of Egypt mainly dried bricks were used.

The drainage system of Mohenjodaro was very impressive.

In almost all cities every big or small house had its own courtyard and bathroom.

Origins of farming

In Europe,ancient-DNA studoes have shown that agriculture tended to spread through an influx of people with ancestary in Anatolia. New study shows a similar dynamic in Iran and Turan where the researchers found that Anatolian-related ancestary and farming arrived around the same time.

Researchers had successfully sequenced the first genome of an individual from Harappa and combining it with archaeological data, found that hunter-gatherers of South Asia had an independent origin, and authored the settled way of life in this part of the world.

They do not contain genome from either the Steppe region or ancient Iranian farmers.

The genetic continuity from hunter gatherer to modern times is visible in the DNA results.”

The same hunter gatherer communities developed into agricultural communities and formed the Harappan civilization.

The researchers also suggest that there was a movement of people from east to west as the Harapan People’s presense is evident at sites like Gonur in Turkmenistan and Sahr-i-Sokhta in Iran.

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GS-II : International Relations
Sea route from Chennai to Vladivostok

GS-II: Sea route from Chennai to Vladivostok

News

During PM’s visit to Vladivostok this week, a MoI was signed to open a full-fledged maritime route between Russia’s eastern port city and Chennai on India’s eastern seaboard.

Vladivostok

In Russian, Vladivostok is ‘Ruler of the East’.

Located on the Golden Horn Bay north of North Korea and a short distance from Russia’s border with China, it is the largest port on Russia’s Pacific coast, and home to the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy.

It is the eastern railhead of the legendary Trans Siberian Railway, which connects the far east of Russia to the capital Moscow, and further west to the countries of Europe.

At Vladivostok’s massive port, shipping and commercial fishing are the main commercial activities.

Automobiles are a major item of import at the port, from where they are often transported further inland.

To Chennai by sea:

An ocean liner travelling from Vladivostok to Chennai would sail southward on the Sea of Japan past the Korean peninsula, Taiwan and the Philippines in the South China Sea, past Singapore and through the Strait of Malacca.

It will emerge into the Bay of Bengal and then cut across through the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago to Chennai.

Time and distance

This sea route covers a distance of approximately 5,600 nautical miles, or about 10,300 km.

A large container ship travelling at the normal cruising speed of 20-25 knots, or 37-46 km/hour, should be able to cover the distance in 10-12 days.

At suboptimal “slow steaming” speeds of 18-20 knots (33-37 km/hour), at which long-distance vessels sometimes travel to in order to save fuel, it might take slightly longer — 12-13 days.

Trade and strategy

India is building nuclear power plants with Russia’s collaboration in Kudankulam on the sea coast in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district.

The opening of a sea route is likely to help in the project.

Even otherwise, a vibrant sea route will help in the upscaling of trade relations between the two nations.

It will also increase India’s presence in the Indo-Pacific, and especially the South China Sea, a deeply contested patch of the ocean that Beijing considers its stomping ground.

Significance of the route

Opening of this route between Chennai and Vladivostok assumes significance because it ensures there will be connectivity between the two major ports.

It will give impetus to the cooperation between India and the Russian Far East.

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GS-III :
Prepare plan for protection of Great Indian bustard

GS-III: Prepare plan for protection of Great Indian bustard

News

Noting the high mortality rate of the Great Indian Bustard.the NGT has directed the centre to prepare a time bound action plan within two months for protection of the birds.

Great Indian Bustard

  • The Great Indian Bustard, one of the heaviest flying birds, can weigh up to 15 kg and grow up to one metre in height.
  • It is considered the flagship grassland species, representing the health of the grassland ecology.
  • For long, conservationists have been demanding to secure this population, warning that the bird might get extinct in the coming decades.
  • It would become the first mega species to disappear from India after Cheetah in recent times.
  • Till 1980s, about 1,500-2,000 Great Indian Bustards were spread throughout the western half of India, spanning eleven states.
  • However, with rampant hunting and declining grasslands, their population dwindled.
  • In July 2011, the bird was categorised as “critically endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Protection Measures:

Birdlife International uplisted this species from Endangered to Critically Endangered (2011)

Protection under CITES Appendix I

Protection under Schedule I Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act 2002

Project Great Indian Bustard (Rajasthan):  aims at identifying and fencing off bustard breeding grounds in existing protected areas as well as provide secure breeding enclosures in areas outside protected areas.

 

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GS-IV : Miscellaneous
It’s time officers renewed their commitment to the nation, not the government of the day

GS-IV: It’s time officers renewed their commitment to the nation, not the government of the day

News

We often hear questions on the integrity of civil services, organisations such as the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI and the intentions of taxmen when they do some tasks as part of their job.

Background

There is a belief that the country’s “rusted steel frame” poses a challenge. But not many concrete measures to offer that can strengthen and refurbish it.

Civil services training

  • The training academies in Mussoorie, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Baroda, Shimla, etc. are state-of-the-art and well-equipped to enhance the skills of trainees.
  • These institutes impart training in subjects specific to the job profile of each service.
  • But what about the spirit of the civil services? What about “the impartiality and incorruptibility of administration”, that Sardar Patel expected?
  • The backbone to withstand the pressures of expediency, politicians, media, and mobs is withering.

 

 

Role models who fought alone

  • A commissioner of police who, when asked not to oppose the bail of a film star who was the son of a Mumbai politician, refused to comply, politely but firmly.
  • A young IAS officer refused to write the interview marks of candidates in pencil — so the politicians on the board could “manipulate” them later.
  • A tax officer refused to open a closed file to “teach a lesson to an unfriendly” business house.

Challenges

These actions are known only to a few.

There are awards for innovation and achieving targets, but none for awarding an officer for standing by the principles she is supposed to be true to.

Case studies have been developed for performance, but none exist for those who abide by their commitment to a just and equitable society and dare to differ with “orders from the top”.

Civil Services for the common man

  • Common man still sees a lot of hope in the civil services.
  • His dream is to have his child join them for the prestige and power that the services seem to carry.
  • To him, the services represent a very important tool to establish an equitable society through which he hopes to better his life and the future of his children.
  • He does not think of “using” the services for his selfish ends but for the common good.

What civil servants have to do

  • Spread the culture of performance and accountability and punish the corrupt.
  • Resist undue pressures from different players, and concentrate on the delivery of services to the poor.

Justice Khanna – a case study

  • Justice H R Khanna remains the most remembered for his principled stand against Emergency.
  • Very few have heard of the other four judges.

Conclusion

We need the likes of Justice Khanna to motivate the civil services to take a principled stand.

 

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